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The Crown dropped all nine sexual assault charges against Dr. Alan Cockeram on Thursday. (Courtesy of RateMDs)

The Crown has withdrawn all nine charges against Dr. Alan Cockeram, a Saint John doctor who was facing sexual assault allegations.

The Crown withdrew the charges on Thursday morning when a preliminary hearing was set to begin.

Cockeram’s lawyer Brian Munro leapt to his feet after the charges were withdrawn and demanded to know on what grounds they were withdrawing the case.

But the judge said no reason was given in court.

Leaving the courtroom, the Crown prosecutor said a press release would be issued later about the decision to withdraw the charges.

Munro told reporters he was happy for his client. But he called the treatment of Cockeram "outrageous" and characterized his client's accusers a group of people who got together and were out to get him, resulting in 'bogus" charges.

The 60-year-old gastroenterologist had been facing nine sexual assault charges dating back to 1987. Patients have alleged "unnecessary or inappropriate examination."

Cockeram has been working in the Saint John area for more than 25 years.

Meanwhile, the College of Physicians and Surgeons has imposed a temporary restriction on Cockeram's medical licence, prohibiting him from treating any women at his private office in the city's north end.

The Horizon Health Network has previously stripped Cockeram of his privileges to treat female patients at any of its facilities.